Flailing for words

Periodically The Man needs a new hobby. He realizes that most of his time is spent doing those regular day to day things and then sitting on the couch watching shows or sitting at the computer playing something or other. Then he’s bored. Then it happens.

Last year it was bread. Twice a week we were eating Viennoise (chocolate chip baguettes, which by the way are as yummy as they sound) or Japanese milk bread or lord knows what but it tasted nice with cheese. I would come home to a bag of lava rocks in the kitchen because they hold heat better for the gluten structure. Hm.

Now it’s Duolingo Spanish. A very popular app to teach the whole enchilada (see what I did there?) of comprehension, conversation, and reading. I’m all for this, don’t get me wrong. It’s not gambling, or drinking, or endless nights out playing poker or golf. It won’t get anyone in trouble and really, everyone should know some other language, no? But the problem is that The Man has an addictive personality and CAN’T STOP. So he’s practicing Spanish in the bathroom, in the recliner, while he waits for the casserole to finish baking…It’s somewhat disconcerting to be just drifting off to sleep and hear someone saying ‘esa mujer necesita platanos’ (‘that woman needs plantains’, in case you were wondering).

And now there’s some other guy HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW who is also learning a language on the app and they are competing to be first in lessons. Well, I have no idea whether Vladimir is aware of this competition and cares about this. I certainly don’t! But The Man cares. Very much. At least twice a week I hear whether Vladimir or The Man are in first place and how far ahead of the next person.

So it’s gotten to the point where if there’s any lull in the conversation he’s lost in his phone. He’s been promising the Kidlet all day they will make a snack for our outing tomorrow. She’s been standing next to him for what seems like forever but was probably only two minutes. He hasn’t noticed.

Me: are you guys going to make the things?

The Man: what? I’m helping with that?

Kidlet: it was your idea

The Man: I’m in the middle of a lesson.

Me: I can tell. Do you plan on drowning in Spanish all night?

The Man: it’s called immersion.

Me and the Kidlet: …

The Man: it’s like drowning but less flailing.

I win…at weirdness

A couple of weeks ago my boss took out the team for our annual thank-you-for-putting-up-with-all-this lunch, with the added feature of saying goodbye to a teammate who is on to bigger and better. Or, at least, I think she thinks it will be. I personally have my doubts on whether she can find anything that will fully settle her, but that is another post altogether.

In any case, one of our topics was ‘what was the weirdest/worst’ gift you ever received. And, not to brag, but I think I’ve got this one in spades.

In college, like many a foolish young woman out to make the world a better place, I dated a young man with a fear of commitment. His high school girlfriend had broken his heart and now that he was the ripe old age of 19 he was sure it would never mend. He made sure to tell me he would never really be able to be in love with me. Overlooking that as well as a great many other things, I decided that we could still be a wonderful couple and would see how it went. Remind me to tell you about the squash soup incident.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day, in his room (I believe his roommate was there), and he gave me a small wrapped box. ‘This is for you. You can open it but you can’t touch it.’ I unwrapped the thing carefully and…he had stolen the heart of the fetal pig they were dissecting in his Biology class. ‘It’s a symbol!’ he said, and although it actually turned out to be a symbol of many other less pleasant things, I politely embraced his way of telling me I had won his (formeldehyded and untouchable) heart (which was then immediately thrown into the garbage). And yes, although you are now embarrassed for me, I did continue to date him for several more months. Not sure it made the world a better place.

My team thinks differently of me now. You probably would too if you haven’t already read some of these posts.


Wellness: Week 1 Highlights

Day 1: get moving. 6-minute workout, four separate exercises to do for 30 seconds each (twice) with 15-second breaks and a cool-down after. Me: this better not be hard. Also Me: Dear God, I’m a lazy ass.

Minute 1-9: Hey, jumping jacks! I can do those. These aren’t so bad. Shit I almost hit the ceiling fan. How did I not remember I had a ceiling fan in here? I am badass at these pushups. PLANK? GAAAH. Who does these on purpose? Thank goodness they said to do these pushups kneeling. I am still badass at these. Ooh, child pose. I’m badass at that too. Ooh, shivasana? Lying on the floor contemplating nothing? I’m all OVER that. Hey, things look weird upside down. I wonder how long it’s been since we vacuumed.

Day 2: Toothbrush Challenge. Me: are they going to tell me to change out my toothbrush? I can TOTALLY make that happen. Also me: What? Be mindful while brushing? That’s how lacking in self-care I am that brushing my teeth is Me Time? Wait…now I have to stand on one leg while I do this? Do I have to tell anyone this is happening? Is my friend thinking this is stupid too? How am I already failing this 30 day thing in the first 3 days? Maybe this does count as mindfulness. Hey, I didn’t fall over. Go me!

Day 3: get moving. 4 sets of exercises similar to day 1, but with a mantra. Me: a MANTRA? Uuuuugghghhh I’m tired. Also me: It’s only 9 minutes and the first one was actually kind of enjoyable. Me again: It’s been a long day. Also me: You can’t give up now! Me: texting my friend that I’m on it, if only to force myself to make it happen out of sheer pride.

Minutes 1-9: Hey, these pushups are way harder the second day. I wonder if I was doing them right the first time. Have I ever done pushups right? Someone would have told me by now! There’s a yoga pose called Happy Baby? Really? I don’t feel that happy with my knees at my ears. Ooh, shivasana again. Definitely my favorite. Why are there cats stepping on my face? Go away, cats, I’m being mindful. Whoops, I never did use the mantra. Was it like a safe word? Maybe I should create a safe word for exercise. Never mind. Can I go read a book now? Mister Man: You’re up, Bambina is ready for tucking in.

Day 4: Date Night. Me: Uh…

I compromised. Friday night we went out to a new place in a section of town we never go to. But we took the kids. At least it was delicious.

Day 5: more movement. Me: Oh, these are actually fun. Me in the middle of the night: Shit, I forgot.

Day 6: find a new snack. I’ll consider it.

Day 7: revisit one of the above. I managed to take care of Day 5. Mostly because I don’t want to poop out before the first week is over. That would imply I don’t really mean it. Not sure if I DO really mean it, but that would just be too much honesty for me. I still don’t know what I’m hoping to get out of this, because I can tell that starting a real routine is beyond my little brain right now. But I do admit to feeling pleased with myself and possibly slightly healthier after each of these workout ones.

Ok, Week 2. What have you got for me?


Dr. Ruth, everyone’s favorite bedtime storyteller

When I was very young, say, 6-7ish, I liked to listen to the radio when going to bed. Looking back, my bedtime must have been super late, because I particularly enjoyed the soothing voice of this woman who had a talk show on whatever station I had on. I didn’t understand why sometimes she talked about penises or why people were so concerned about them, but mostly I just zoned out and it lulled me right on to dreamland. One night my mother happened to tuck me in one last time and heard the woman talking about penises. The next day she very casually said that it probably wasn’t a good idea for me to use that to go to sleep. I shrugged, and music became my thing until I didn’t need noise in order to doze off.

No surprise to anyone, years later I learned I had been listening to the most popular sex therapist of the 80s and many other decades, Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Whoops.

Fast forward to my early 30s, and I was invited to a luncheon to benefit an organization that worked with senior citizens, and their guest speaker was none other than Dr. Ruth. I was so excited, you’d think it was a rock group and I had great seats.

Unlike so many times when we revisit something from our past, or meet a hero and their feet of clay, Dr. Ruth did not disappoint. She was an amazing speaker, and had so many interesting opinions on her long life. My favorite was how her beloved husband of a million years didn’t participate in most of her many interviews, except for once when Joan Lunden called. Apparently Mr. Dr. Ruth adored Joan Lunden and so Dr. Ruth didn’t have the heart to tell him to skedaddle. During the recording, Joan asked him how their sex life was. His response: ‘well, cobbler’s children don’t have shoes.’


Wellness Shmellness

Yesterday my friend texted about a New York Times sponsored wellness challenge. 30 days of help to get habits going and squelching bad ones. It promised each activity would be easy, quick, and manageable. Since it’s the new year and I already know better than to try anything serious when it comes to resolutions but I know I need to do some things better (extra 20 pounds, anyone?), I thought I’d sign up. How bad can it be to have a push to get some exercise, read a book about self-care, try some boring tips for supportive language when dealing with teenagers and threenagers alike, not to mention their father and my coworkers?

Challenge number 1: write yourself a letter explaining why you are doing this. Make sure to include the challenge areas (Move, Refresh, Connect, Nourish) and to keep an open mind and to commit to actually doing the work. Well, easy enough, I suppose. But then I wrote it. Huh. (really, what I thought is DAMMIT I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS but I don’t think that’s the point). I may need this more than I thought.

Dear me. You’re lonely. And it’s all your own fault. You have friends! You have a loving spouse and a supportive practical mom who basically lives down the street. Yes, life is stressful. This has been a very exciting year, maybe not always in the best way. Parenting is hard and it takes time and energy. Being married is work, and right now it feels like it is almost the lowest priority. Although maybe sex comes lower. Definitely less important than sleep. But you are last after all of those and that’s not right. It’s not a zero sum game so why are you playing it that way?

So here you are. Take that first step. Eat fewer sweets. Drink more water. Walk around the block and SEE YOUR FRIENDS. Even if you don’t spill your guts about the anxiety and the to-do list and the stress of keeping everyone above water. You are important and it’s time to act that way. You’ll be better for it. Maybe.

So…wanna come along for this ride? Apparently there will be sarcasm and dragging of feet. Probably humor, and maybe, MAYBE, some wellness.

Oh my brilliant child

Last week the Bambina totally impressed the pediatrician at her 2 year checkup with her advanced social and language skills. I, of course, mentally congratulated myself on being the best parent (and gene provider) ever. 

Tonight the Bambina is taking a bath with Daddy. 

The Bambina: guess what?

The Man: what?

The Bambina: chicken butt!

The Man: … did you hear what your daughter just said?

The Bambina: (much louder) Chicken Butt, Mama!

Oh, boy. 

Siri is my hero

Actual conversation between me and The Man –

Me: well I can’t help if I get annoyed when you are obstreperous. 

The Man: obstreperous? Seriously? What does that even mean? You can’t win an argument by making up words!

Me: (laughing too hard to say anything)

The Man: Siri, what does obstreperous mean?

Siri: ok, calling Dad